As a way to celebrate graduating seniors while practicing the CDC’s guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dakota Valley school board moved to follow the recommendation of Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jerry Rasmussen and High School Principal Erik Sommervold. A virtual graduation ceremony will be held Saturday, May 9 – Dakota Valley’s scheduled graduation date.

The board discussed potential dates for holding a physical graduation ceremony. The tentative date is Saturday, July 25. However, with the constant changes of the pandemic, the board decided not to set anything in stone and will continue discussion at their May 11 meeting.

“I’d say our top goal is to give the kids a memory,” Rasmussen said. “We feel so bad for our seniors that they can’t have that memory of a traditional graduation, so what’s the closest we can come to that?”

“I, ultimately, am just looking to provide some closure for the students in whatever form we can do it and for parents,” Sommervold said. “I can’t imagine if this was my child’s graduating year, how I would feel. So put yourself in their positions and try to provide some type of event that honors what they’ve accomplished over the last 13 years. I don’t know what that all looks like and what would be the best way to do it, but I think that anything is going to be appreciated at this point. This is the one thing they have left that can end high school on a positive note.”

Student pictures will be displayed and speeches recorded for the virtual ceremony.

The Times will publish a special keepsake graduation section next week.